LAUREL, Ind. -- When Misty and Curtis Oglesby found out they were expecting twin girls in 2014, their happy surprise turned to concern upon learning the babies were conjoined.
“It was such a shock,” said Misty, the twins’ mom. “They gave them a 5 to 25 percent chance of survival.”
Doctors diagnosed Misty with preeclampsia (high blood pressure) which caused her to deliver earlier than expected. Shylah and Selah Oglesby arrived after 31 weeks gestation at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Oct. 27, 2014. A transport team from Cincinnati Children’s transferred the twins to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Cincinnati Children’s without complications.
The twins were conjoined from the lower third of the chest all the way down to the navel. They shared a liver but their hearts, lungs and intestines were all separate.
A multidisciplinary team involving the neonatal unit, radiology, cardiology, anesthesia, plastic surgery and pediatric surgery worked together to figure out the needs of the babies. The team spent the next three months planning and practicing the separation surgery.
The immediate concern was for Selah. She was born with a complete AV canal defect (a heart defect) and was at risk of developing progressive heart failure. At 3 months old, surgeons at Cincinnati Children’s successfully separated the twins on Jan. 28, 2015.
“At that moment of separating the twins, you are just concentrating on giving the twins what each of them needs to do well as individuals following their separation,” said Foong-Yen Lim, MD, surgical director of the Cincinnati Fetal Center. “When we made that final cut to completely separate the twins, there was a sense of success and happiness not just for the entire team but more importantly for the parents who had worked with us so closely as a team for months to get to that point.”
After the twins were separated, surgeons performed two different open heart surgeries to repair the valves in Selah’s heart. The Oglesby family left Cincinnati Children’s for their home in Laurel, Indiana, after spending 15 months at the medical center. The twins have therapies and follow-up procedures in their future, but for now they are enjoying being toddlers.
“It’s great to be home,” Misty said. “The twins are running around, doing well and thriving. Shylah is the talkative, funny one. Selah is more timid and loving but strong and determined. They are my miracles.”
Read more about the twins at the Cincinnati Children's blog here .